Chumming with the Moon

Even if you don’t have a telescope or binoculars, or even a dark rural sky, take advantage of the monthly line-of-sight encounters between the Earth’s moon and the sun’s planets. If you’re not getting slammed by snow this weekend, Venus and the moon will appear very close in the evening sky after sunset. (By the way, make Tammy Plotner’s weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast a regular Friday read if you’re at all interested in observational astronomy. Today’s is great.)

The Astronomy Picture of the Day site has a spectacular image of the moon with three planets in the early dawn sky over the Central Coast of New South Wales.

As the moon orbits the Earth, it laps all the planets, seen and unseen, in the sky. The arrangements as seen from the surface of our planet can be impressive. Add a framing (but just a framing) of colored clouds and you’ll stop traffic.

Sometimes the moon will occult a planet. Watching the moon occult Saturn through a telescope can be cool. It’s like watching a huge saucer “land” on the rim moon, then sink into the mountains.

Speaking of Saturn, I liked this image of a twisted F ring, distorted by repeated interactions with the moons Prometheus and Pandora.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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